Batter's Box Interactive Magazine Batter's Box Interactive Magazine Batter's Box Interactive Magazine
It's Toronto versus Tampa Bay on two fronts. The Toronto Maple Leafs can clinch a playoff spot for the first time since 2013 and the first time since a full 82-game schedule in 2004 with a victory over the Lightning at the Air Canada Centre.

Meanwhile, the Toronto Blue Jays can clinch their first victory of 2017 (but four would be nice!) as they begin a four-game series at Tropicana Field this evening. If that doesn't excite you, just look at the handsome picture below of the newest Blue Jay acquisition.

Catcher Luke Maile has hit .214 with three home runs and 17 runs batted in his two-year career with Tampa Bay. The Rays designated the 26 year-old for assignment.

Series Schedule/Probable Starters

Thursday at 7:10 pm ET - Marcus Stroman (NR) vs. Blake Snell (NR)
Friday at 7:10 pm ET - Francisco Liriano (NR) vs. Matt Andriese (NR)
Saturday at 6:10 pm ET - Aaron Sanchez (NR) vs. Chris Archer (1-0, 2.57)
Sunday at 1:10 pm ET - Marco Estrada (0-0, 3.00) vs. Jake Odorizzi (0-1, 6.00)

The Rays are off to a 2-1 start this season after taking two of three from the visiting New York Yankees.

Burning Questions - Will the Rays overcome the loss of Luke Maile? Will Troy Tulowitzki be able to avoid matching his 0-for-11 start to Spring Training after going 0-for-9 in Baltimore?

Hot Take - If Stroman and Liriano do not replicate their spring performances, the Jays will be hard pressed to get a split in this series given that a rusty Sanchez will face Archer in the third game and Estrada's 1-4 lifetime mark against the Rays albeit with a 2.70 ERA.

Up Next - The Blue Jays return home for a two-game set against the Milwaukee Brewers April 11 and 12.
Blue Jays @ Rays - April 6-9 | 112 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
#2JBrumfield - Thursday, April 06 2017 @ 04:48 PM EDT (#340353) #
Shi Davidi tweets Roberto Osuna will throw a simulated game at the Trop Saturday.
lexomatic - Thursday, April 06 2017 @ 06:50 PM EDT (#340355) #
Does anyone know if Maile has a good defensive reputation? His minor league offensive numbers don't suggest anything other than warm body.
CeeBee - Thursday, April 06 2017 @ 06:58 PM EDT (#340356) #
Hope the bats warm up, or wake up, or clutch up :)
Alex Obal - Thursday, April 06 2017 @ 07:09 PM EDT (#340357) #
Pitcher W/L as be-all end-all (because it gets you to the playoffs), Stroman has a Napoleon complex, this generation of players doesn't respect the game, Ian Snell is a lefty now for the Devil Rays. The talking heads are in midseason form.
jerjapan - Thursday, April 06 2017 @ 07:12 PM EDT (#340358) #
Lexomatic, I looked Maile up on a TB fan forum and the comment I read suggested he was a solid option defensively.  Not sure of the quality of the source though.
Jimbag - Thursday, April 06 2017 @ 07:13 PM EDT (#340359) #
Currently tied for worst place, nowhere to go but up. I miss the lunatic in the stands at the Trop who used to pick one opposing player per game and mercilessly heckle them when they were at bat...about the only thing I ever found entertaining about games vs Tampa.
China fan - Thursday, April 06 2017 @ 07:27 PM EDT (#340360) #
As I mentioned in the other thread, I've read that Maile is an above-average defender with an average arm.  Certainly an upgrade over Salty defensively, although probably significantly worse offensively.  It gives the Jays another option if they decide that they want to prioritize defense over offense when the back-up catcher is playing.
China fan - Thursday, April 06 2017 @ 08:57 PM EDT (#340361) #
Love the Morales grand slam, but the Jays have gotten 4 runs on just 2 hits so far in this game.... Can't wait for a few of these guys to break out and start hitting....
China fan - Thursday, April 06 2017 @ 09:05 PM EDT (#340362) #
.....And of course it would be Smoak and Barney who immediately double the Jays hitting total in this game...
Gerry - Thursday, April 06 2017 @ 10:29 PM EDT (#340363) #
Nice win, excellent game by Barney. It was probably good to pull Stroman even though his pitch count wasn't that high. I think that after peaking for the WBC he needs some time to get back in the groove for a "regular" game.
uglyone - Thursday, April 06 2017 @ 10:32 PM EDT (#340364) #
i would be perfectly fine with Barney starting in LF vLHP.
scottt - Friday, April 07 2017 @ 08:14 AM EDT (#340366) #
Barney is really a great backup. Goins is basically that 8th reliever that never throws a pitch.

Great game.

Sounds like Salty will DH to give him some playing time.
I don't think Tulo can sit until he gets a hit.

It really looks like a repeat of last year's slow start. Some guys are slow starters.
Nothing can do.
The key thing is to not let the bullpen lose too many games.
That's really what sunk April last year.

rpriske - Friday, April 07 2017 @ 08:21 AM EDT (#340367) #
I think we know now why Goins was kept over Upton.

If Travis needs a day off on the third game of the season they are really concerned about his physical state. They kept Goins because they assume Travis will be hitting the D.L., and maybe soon.
PeterG - Friday, April 07 2017 @ 09:57 AM EDT (#340368) #
I don't think there is any concern about Travis hitting the DL. Resting him gives other players an opportunity. Gibbons likes every player to start at least one game in a week.
uglyone - Friday, April 07 2017 @ 10:05 AM EDT (#340369) #
I'm still worried about Travis.

Though I think the concrete turf a the trop was a factor here.
PeterG - Friday, April 07 2017 @ 12:18 PM EDT (#340370) #
I think that the main factor was getting Barney into a game. Probably, Gibbons will want to start Goins on Saturday or Sunday in place of Tulo.
Mike Green - Friday, April 07 2017 @ 02:07 PM EDT (#340372) #
The talking heads are in midseason form.

This put me in mind of Bert Blyleven and The Great Curve:

Sometimes the world has a load of questions
Seems like the world knows nothing at all

I agree with UO that the hard surface at the Trop probably played a role in Gibbons' decision to give Travis a day off so early on in the season. 
China fan - Friday, April 07 2017 @ 03:32 PM EDT (#340375) #
Travis back in the lineup tonight, along with Saltalamacchia and Carrera and Smoak, while Pearce and Martin are sitting.

It does seem that Gibbons wants every player to have at least occasional playing time. Much as I hate to see Pearce sitting, they've got to be somewhat cautious with all of these guys and give them occasional days off for the sake of preserving their health.
John Northey - Friday, April 07 2017 @ 03:41 PM EDT (#340376) #
Common sense. Don't make players do what they can't. Let them do what they are good at. Pearce and Travis are fragile until they prove they aren't. That means sitting each at least once a week, ideally when playing on a poor quality field. Martin, as a catcher, also needs regular rest. The rest can play 90%+ of the time without fear for their health.

That is something Cito was great at - he would experiment during the season sometimes, letting poor hitters hit and poor fielders play out there just to see if they picked up anything in practices. Then when playoffs hit he knew what everyone could do and everyone was onside because they knew they had a chance to show they could (or could not) do certain things. Gibby seems similar. This year will be a test - if he can keep Pearce and Martin and Travis healthy then he has earned manager of the year.
Mike Green - Friday, April 07 2017 @ 04:15 PM EDT (#340378) #
I am puzzled by the decision to give Martin off tonight rather than tomorrow night or Sunday afternoon.  The conventional thing to do is to avoid the day game after the night game.  Maybe the theory is that Liriano holds runners better than Sanchez or Estrada, or that Saltalamachhia hits Andriese better than Archer or Odorizzi.

Of course, I understand the decision to give Pearce and Martin a day off in Tampa. 
Mike Green - Friday, April 07 2017 @ 04:19 PM EDT (#340379) #
What is battle cry? It's what happens when you put a seven nation army in centerfield.
John Northey - Friday, April 07 2017 @ 04:21 PM EDT (#340380) #
Just saw on MLB Trade Rumors that Mike Bolsinger cleared waivers and is in Buffalo now. So Bolsinger and Latos will both get innings to try to earn that #6 starter role.

Catching now has 3 backups in Juan Graterol, Mike Ohlman, and Luke Maile. Nice to see the GM slowly building depth - who says you need to be done pre-April.
85bluejay - Friday, April 07 2017 @ 05:21 PM EDT (#340381) #
I understand giving Martin the night off, but after all the Liriano/Martin relationship talk, just surprised that it's with Liriano in his 1st. start.
85bluejay - Friday, April 07 2017 @ 05:24 PM EDT (#340382) #
The Orioles have acquired Miguel Castro - Good Gamble, wish it was the Jays.
China fan - Friday, April 07 2017 @ 05:39 PM EDT (#340383) #
"....I am puzzled by the decision to give Martin off tonight rather than tomorrow night or Sunday afternoon..."

One theory that I've seen today:  the Jays prefer to have their best-hitting lineup against Archer and Odorizzi, rather than against the 5th starter in the Rays rotation.  They have to rest Pearce and Martin at some point, so why not rest them in a game where their hitting might not be needed?

(This ignores the point that Martin is not hitting at all so far.  But even in a slump, he's a better hitter than Salty.)
scottt - Friday, April 07 2017 @ 06:30 PM EDT (#340384) #
Martin was in a collision at the plate. They might want to give him a break.

Salty has to be able to work with all the pitchers. He was fine with Liriano in the spring.
As long as they keep him away from lefties, I think it's fine.

scottt - Friday, April 07 2017 @ 06:36 PM EDT (#340385) #
Castro will soon be out of options. It's a huge gamble. I wonder if they try him back as a closer.
Probably not since they release a starter to make space for him.
Gerry - Friday, April 07 2017 @ 07:06 PM EDT (#340389) #
Salty has had issues throwing and the Jays don't want Tampa to run wild on him. What's the best way to control the running game? A lefty starter.

That's my theory.
Alex Obal - Friday, April 07 2017 @ 07:38 PM EDT (#340390) #
Tabler's point about setting the target right down the middle is well taken.
vw_fan17 - Friday, April 07 2017 @ 08:14 PM EDT (#340391) #
So, uh, about that pitching depth..
dan gordon - Friday, April 07 2017 @ 08:21 PM EDT (#340392) #
Good move by the Orioles to get Castro. He was hugely rushed to the big leagues, and is still just recently turned 22. Very good prospect IMO. Not much of a gamble at all really, they're only giving cash or PTBNL to Colorado, and to make room on the 40 man, they designated one Joe Gunkel. If Castro doesn't work out, no big deal.
jerjapan - Friday, April 07 2017 @ 08:31 PM EDT (#340393) #
Castro will soon be out of options. It's a huge gamble.

You've got some low risk tolerance ...
dan gordon - Friday, April 07 2017 @ 08:31 PM EDT (#340394) #
Liriano with a cool 135.00 ERA and a, well, let's just say somewhat inflated WHIP of 21.00. Gonna take a few good ones just to get back to normal looking numbers.
uglyone - Friday, April 07 2017 @ 09:55 PM EDT (#340396) #
I get that gibby wouldn't want to leash martin to liriano right from the start.....but liriano has been so bad without him this year and last that i'm not sure i'd consider liriano good enough anymore not to need a babysitter.

and if the bottom of our lineup can be good enough tbis year to legitimately keep pillar in the 9 hole all year i think that would indicate a big upgrade given how horrific the bottom of the order was last year.

and man it's nice to have just a typical crappy backup catcher instead of a josh thole.
uglyone - Friday, April 07 2017 @ 09:58 PM EDT (#340397) #
nice work by leone and tepera but now we have the first real test for the new backend of our pen - hold a 1 run lead for 3 innings with no osuna. let'z see if howell/smith/grilli/biagini can get it donw.

uglyone - Friday, April 07 2017 @ 10:01 PM EDT (#340398) #
heh, not a good start.
SK in NJ - Friday, April 07 2017 @ 10:09 PM EDT (#340399) #
Can't let a LOOGY face RHB late in games and expect good results more often than not. Howell looked awful. He should have been pulled right after Dickerson got the double. Gibbons played with fire and it cost him.
uglyone - Friday, April 07 2017 @ 10:38 PM EDT (#340400) #
gibby is trying to get thru a full game of relief pitchers. not a lot of leeway to be yanking guys withiut getting any outs.
Gerry - Friday, April 07 2017 @ 11:13 PM EDT (#340404) #
Three winnable games, three losses. That has to change.
SK in NJ - Friday, April 07 2017 @ 11:25 PM EDT (#340405) #
Ultimately this game is on Liriano. The pen aside from Howell (who was really used incorrectly) did their jobs well considering the circumstances, and the offense finally woke up, but they couldn't get over the bad first inning. Can't have Pittsburgh-2016 Liriano show up and expect to win games. Not having Martin behind the plate should not make that big of a difference. He was just off tonight.

Very small sample size, but I like what I've seen from Smoak so far. He's making good contact, working the count, and being productive. Even his 9th inning K tonight was horrible umpiring as that should have been a lead off walk. A hot streak to begin the season would certainly be nice.

I'm not sure what the Jays April record is with Gibbons as manager, but it feels like it's not good. They never seem to get off to a hot start as a team.
China fan - Saturday, April 08 2017 @ 06:41 AM EDT (#340406) #
"....Can't let a LOOGY face RHB late in games and expect good results...."

It is Loup, if anyone, who is the LOOGY in this bullpen.  Howell is not supposed to be a "one-out" guy.  (Or a zero-out guy, in last night's case.)  The Jays didn't give a $3-million one-year contract to Howell to be a one-out guy.  The Jays can't afford to have their LHP relievers pitch only to a single batter in specific situations -- they need to be able to pitch a full inning. Especially when the bullpen is so badly depleted by a starter who goes one-third of an inning.
China fan - Saturday, April 08 2017 @ 06:50 AM EDT (#340407) #
"....Can't let a LOOGY face RHB late in games and expect good results..."

Incidentally, because of the depleted bullpen, Aaron Loup ended up facing five RHB in the late innings last night -- and he struck out all of them.

(It was the LHB, oddly, who did the damage against him.)
scottt - Saturday, April 08 2017 @ 09:12 AM EDT (#340408) #
Liriano's ball was moving too much and he couldn't control it.
That doesn't mean Holwell is not to blame. He's the one who picked up the L.
It's April and you can't read too much into anything.
The plate umpiring was terrible once again.

Giving the GM 30s to ask for a video review isn't going to improve anything if the umps keep making so many bad calls. The call on the stolen base was one of the worst I've ever seen.

SK in NJ - Saturday, April 08 2017 @ 10:47 AM EDT (#340409) #
If Howell is going to be used like a 1 inning guy consistently, then I'm not sure he's going to be that effective this season. He does not have the stuff for it. I get that Gibbons wanted the relievers to pitch a bit more due to Liriano not giving them innings, but going with Smith to face the top of the Rays lineup was still the way to go from a match-up standpoint, especially when Howell looked so awful against the first two batters. By the time Loup came in, it looked like Gibbons just wanted two innings out of someone to avoid having to use Biagini or Grilli unless the Jays took the lead. Loup did look surprisingly good though, which is a good sign for him.
Chuck - Saturday, April 08 2017 @ 11:03 AM EDT (#340410) #
Can't let a LOOGY face RHB late in games and expect good results more often than not.

Agree with this sentiment in general, except in this case it was the 6th inning, so not late in the game at all.

While Howell has been used for less than an inning per outing during his career as a reliever, I don't know that he'll be treated as a LOOGY the way Loup will. Certainly in last night's game, it was reasonable to look to him the pitch the entirety of the 6th (were he able to find the strike zone, that is).

Gerry - Saturday, April 08 2017 @ 12:51 PM EDT (#340412) #
Casey Lawrence was due to start for Buffalo today but now the starter is Jarrett Grube.

Lawrence could be added to the 40 man and on his way to Tampa. All speculation of course.
China fan - Saturday, April 08 2017 @ 01:33 PM EDT (#340413) #
Presumably it will be Leone who is optioned down to make room for Lawrence. Leone pitched a strong 2.2 innings last night, and he will be back. But right now, they need fresh arms in the bullpen.
scottt - Saturday, April 08 2017 @ 01:45 PM EDT (#340415) #
That's just insurance. If they needed arm in the pen they'd bring up a reliever.
Ideally, it would be Goins that goes down.

Gerry - Saturday, April 08 2017 @ 02:20 PM EDT (#340417) #
Shi Davidi has confirmed the Lawrence for Leone transaction.
bpoz - Saturday, April 08 2017 @ 05:29 PM EDT (#340423) #
Cuttlefish and a coke to Gerry. You are right on top of things. Cheers.
China fan - Saturday, April 08 2017 @ 05:59 PM EDT (#340425) #
"....If they needed arm in the pen they'd bring up a reliever....."

Not sure if I understand your point here.  Lawrence is not in the Toronto rotation, therefore by definition he is indeed an "arm in the pen."  He could easily see duty as a reliever in a mop-up or blow-out situation -- or even in a higher leverage situation if they run out of other relievers.

Gibbons has already stated that Joe Smith is unavailable for tonight's game, and he says he would also prefer to rest Tepera and Loup if possible. That leaves only four arms available in the bullpen tonight: Biagini, Grilli, Howell and Lawrence.   (Let's hope that Sanchez can go 7 innings.)

I have a question about Lawrence: can he be optioned down when the Jays don't need him?  He was added to the 40-man roster today.  As far as I know, he's never been on the 40-man roster before.  Does that mean that he still has three option years remaining?  Or, because of his age and service time, can he declare himself a minor-league free agent when the Jays try to demote him?  Presumably the Jays will want to demote him on Tuesday when Osuna returns.
Magpie - Saturday, April 08 2017 @ 06:11 PM EDT (#340426) #
Very small sample size, but I like what I've seen from Smoak so far.

Me too, but lest we forget: Smoak was hitting .307/.435/.480 through the first six weeks of last season. Then he remembered he was still Justin Smoak. Or something like that.
Richard S.S. - Saturday, April 08 2017 @ 06:29 PM EDT (#340427) #
With Roberto Osuna NA most of the Spring and on the DL to start the Season, some Relievers don't have established roles as yet. That uncertainty can results in wobbly results when needs are heavy. By the end of the month everything will even out. By the end of May, Ross Atkins will know what the team needs. Until then we live and die with this Team.
jerjapan - Saturday, April 08 2017 @ 07:09 PM EDT (#340430) #
China fan, minor league FA takes place at the same time of ML FA.  Lawrence is just like any other prospect in terms of how he's treated by the org (except that he's a super old career non-prospect who is suddenly on the radar).

I love that Lawrence is getting the call - the best longshot story I can think of in Jays history.  Once again, props to Dan Gordon for being the first to suggest that Lawrence might have upside.   

Gerry - Saturday, April 08 2017 @ 08:08 PM EDT (#340433) #
Yes CF, three option years for Lawrence. However the Jays would have to keep him on the 40 man for that, otherwise he would be a minor league free agent.

Lawrence is 29 and likely to be one of the first guys dropped if there is a roster squeeze.
jerjapan - Saturday, April 08 2017 @ 08:43 PM EDT (#340434) #
Gerry, you clearly know this subject more than I - Lawrence becomes a FA if taken off the 40 man?  Can you explain this?
Gerry - Saturday, April 08 2017 @ 09:20 PM EDT (#340435) #
No I wasn't saying that. I was saying that he signed this year as a minor league free agent so his status with the Jays is year to year. Because of his age I can see him being removed from the 40 man if there is a roster squeeze. If he is removed and reaches the end of the season without being re-added he would be a minor league free agent once again. Then option years might not matter if he signs elsewhere.

I was just just trying to point out that the roster implications and decisions can be different with an older minor league free agent than with a 23 year old prospect.
China fan - Saturday, April 08 2017 @ 09:58 PM EDT (#340436) #
Casey Lawrence making his major-league debut at age 29 in the 11th inning of a tie game.   No pressure, Casey!
China fan - Saturday, April 08 2017 @ 10:05 PM EDT (#340437) #
Bases loaded, 11th inning, one out -- and Casey strikes out.  I mean, he strikes out Evan Longoria.
China fan - Saturday, April 08 2017 @ 10:09 PM EDT (#340438) #
My joke would have been better if I had remembered to say "Mighty Casey strikes out (Longoria)."

One hitter later, Casey loses the game.

Lots of drama in this game.  Great pitching from Sanchez.  But the big Jays hitters really need to start hitting. 

Eephus - Saturday, April 08 2017 @ 10:09 PM EDT (#340439) #
Bulls@@t call. Miller went around. Garbage, garbage, garbage.

Lawrence looked solid considering.

BlueJayWay - Saturday, April 08 2017 @ 10:16 PM EDT (#340440) #
Already 0-4 in games decided by 1 or 2 runs. 1-0 in games decided by 3+. I think I've seen this movie before.
SK in NJ - Saturday, April 08 2017 @ 10:20 PM EDT (#340441) #
Jays are 0-2 in one run games, the Orioles are 3-0 in one run games.

Nice to have the normalcy of baseball back. Some things never change.
Nigel - Saturday, April 08 2017 @ 10:29 PM EDT (#340442) #
Rinse and repeat from one year ago. Poor performance by veterans in high leverage hitting situations. Poor bullpen performance in high leverage situations (not poor overall)
BlueJayWay - Saturday, April 08 2017 @ 10:34 PM EDT (#340443) #
Poor bullpen performance in high leverage situations (not poor overall)

Yeah that too. That was especially the case in 2015 and somewhat in 2016. Pretty good numbers over all, but a knack for giving up crucial runs in high leverage situations.
Gerry - Saturday, April 08 2017 @ 10:35 PM EDT (#340444) #
A few thoughts:

Bautista looks lost the plate. Travis hasn't looked great either over the last few days.

Biagini looked like he didn't have his best stuff today but he battled through two innings. Grilli had to battle too and Gibby had no choice but to sacrifice Casey Lawrence.

The Osuna injury has had a bad impact on the bullpen. The Monday off day looks to be coming just in time now.
SK in NJ - Saturday, April 08 2017 @ 10:54 PM EDT (#340445) #
I think we have seen the downside of the Liriano/Dickey rotation swap. As bad as Dickey could be, he could give up 5 runs in the 1st and still somehow eat up 5-6 innings to save the pen. Liriano's start last night had a ripple effect on two straight losses. The pen was destroyed on Friday, and that caused the losing pitcher in Saturday's game to be on the roster in the first place. Don't get me wrong, by the end of the season Liriano will likely be much better than Dickey, but for those that downplayed the value of Dickey's mediocre innings, they could be useful.

Not much you could do about tonight. The offense wasn't good again and Gibbons had no choice but to go with Lawrence after Biagini and Grilli were used. Having Osuna would have helped, but the Liriano start pretty much destroyed any semblance of order the pen could have had in Osuna's absence.
snider - Saturday, April 08 2017 @ 10:58 PM EDT (#340447) #
I don't remember travis' swing being this long. He seems to be swinging for the fences.
John Northey - Saturday, April 08 2017 @ 11:04 PM EDT (#340449) #
So how has Dickey done? He had his first start tonight.

R.A. Dickey lost after giving up six runs (three earned) on nine hits and four walks with four strikeouts over 5 2/3 innings Saturday against the Pirates. Dickey had his knuckleball working here -- so well that it resulted in three passed balls on top of his four strikeouts.

Text copied from MLB as I figured why rewrite that which has been written? Same old Dickey. Poor Kurt Suzuki getting the extra exercise tonight running to the backstop. Dickey was 1 for 3 with 2 RBI's as a hitter so yes, the Jays could've used him tonight but as a hitter, not a pitcher.
scottt - Sunday, April 09 2017 @ 08:21 AM EDT (#340452) #
Lawrence is an arm in the pen in the sense that he pitched out of the pen.
He's not the best choice to give you a couple of scoreless innings late in a game.
I would have brought him out earlier, especially if the choice is to make him lose the game in the 8th or lose it in the 10th.

Stroman, for example, struggled when thrown in the pen in his first year and he's got a lot more options.
Sanchez dominated because he's a fastball pitcher.

scottt - Sunday, April 09 2017 @ 08:33 AM EDT (#340453) #
Travis didn't have much of a spring training.
Bautista hasn't recovered from that wedding yet.
If only they had an extra outfielder who can play great defense and steal a base when needed...
The record is now 1-4, so is Gibby going to sit one of his good hitter to give Goins some at-bats?
He needs to go down to see some pitching.

Biagini can give you 2 innings, but he's pitched more than 5 innings in the first 5 games.
That's going to the well too often for me.

scottt - Sunday, April 09 2017 @ 08:34 AM EDT (#340454) #
Dickey might be the only pitcher whose arm isn't strong enough to play in the outfield.
Mike Green - Sunday, April 09 2017 @ 09:20 AM EDT (#340455) #
I'd take my chances with Liriano 2017 over Dickey 2016 any time, but I am not as happy as the crowd about Saltalamacchia.  He's obviously a much better hitter than the average back-up catcher, but also a lesser fielder.  I am not a fan of the trade-off. 

It would have been nice to have a pitcher in the bullpen who could throw 3-4 innings (like Bolsinger or Latos).  Gibbons has rarely used the bullpen in this way, preferring to get 2 innings out of a bunch of relievers when the starter blows out.  Gibbons is not alone in this preference- many (but not all) managers have structured the pen in this fashion. 

China fan - Sunday, April 09 2017 @ 10:54 AM EDT (#340456) #
".....if the choice is to make him lose the game in the 8th or lose it in the 10th...."

Was that really the choice?  As far as I know, the Jays were trying to win, regardless of the inning.

But I agree with the concern about the lack of depth in the bullpen.  Biagini and maybe Lawrence or Leone are the only ones who can pitch more than an inning.

Considering how little Goins has played so far, maybe the Jays should have added an 8th reliever at the start of the season and dropped Goins.  I know many people here are opposed to an 8-man pen, but it would have been quite useful in the past couple of games.  Certainly more useful than Goins.

Mike Green - Sunday, April 09 2017 @ 11:02 AM EDT (#340457) #
Carrera back in left-field with Estrada pitching today.  Smoak gets the start over Pearce at first base.   Howell is hitting the DL with Leone returning- I hope Leone has a good frequent flyer plan.

China fan - Sunday, April 09 2017 @ 11:13 AM EDT (#340459) #
"....If only they had an extra outfielder...."

We began the season by thinking that Carrera and Smoak were the weak links in the lineup, and maybe they will be, but neither has been a problem so far.  Pearce has been underperforming, but I think that will correct itself.  If the Jays need another outfielder, Chris Coghlan is available in Buffalo, and he looked very good yesterday:  2 hits and 2 walks in 4 plate appearances. 

I don't think Melvin Upton Jr. would have been the answer to the team's 1-4 opening record. 
Richard S.S. - Sunday, April 09 2017 @ 01:34 PM EDT (#340461) #
Small sample size surrounds us everywhere. Devon Travis didn't get enough Spring ABs. I have no worries about him. Russell Martin didn't have enough Spring ABs, but he needs to adjust what he hits where. His timing will come, he just needs to go with the Pitch. Jose Bautista didn't get enough Spring ABs, despite his successes. He too just needs to go with the Pitch. The Hitting will come arround, that I'm not worried about.

J.P. Howell's injury might originate in Spring Training and might be worrisome. As well, Sean Reid-Foley and T.J.Zeuch might have more significant issues. Francisco Liriano didn't throw enough to show more than control issues, so no worries there. The Pitching, whether the Starters or the Bullpen, has been very good. The Defense has been good as well. So until they hit better, losses will mount.
Richard S.S. - Sunday, April 09 2017 @ 04:37 PM EDT (#340466) #
Possible DL stint for Josh Donaldson? I hope not, but it might be likely.
dan gordon - Sunday, April 09 2017 @ 05:12 PM EDT (#340467) #
Donaldson sure looked to be walking very gingerly when he came off the field, but after the game Gibbons said it was minor and to consider him day-to-day. Probably get an update tomorrow.
China fan - Sunday, April 09 2017 @ 06:02 PM EDT (#340469) #
I'm not trying to make excuses for the Jays -- their hitting has been terrible in almost every game this season -- but is it possible that there is more parity in the AL East than we had previously assumed?  The Orioles and the Rays look like surprisingly good teams, from what I've seen of them so far.  (Yes, I know, it can be argued that the Jays made them look good.)  It might mean that nobody will run away with the division this year.  On the other hand, it's ridiculously early to be making even the slightest of conclusions about the division....
eudaimon - Sunday, April 09 2017 @ 06:18 PM EDT (#340470) #
It's too early to say anything yet. The Jays don't look that great obviously, but they're bound to improve in some aspects. Ideally Liriano can at least eat some innings, and Estrada should be better going forward. But the main issue so far has been the offense. The only guy with an OPS much over .700 is Donaldson. Fortunately we can expect that to improve over time.

Another issue of course is the relief pitching. They really miss having a shutdown guy like Osuna. Hopefully Osuna returns soon, and to the form we've come to expect of him (I worry about his injuries and velocity).
BlueJayWay - Sunday, April 09 2017 @ 06:34 PM EDT (#340471) #
They played two hard fought games in Baltimore that could have gone either way. They lost both. Then they went to Tropicana. 'Nuff said.

I expect this team to look much better on the homestand. Osuna should be activated for Tuesday, and apparently Donaldson expects to be ready to go for the home opener.

Honestly it's to the point where I just dismiss whatever happens in Tampa Bay. It's a house of horros and everything always goes wrong there. The good news is they only have five or six more games to play there all year.

dan gordon - Sunday, April 09 2017 @ 06:43 PM EDT (#340472) #
The Orioles shouldn't be a surprise. That's a powerful lineup they have, with a great bullpen. Tillman, Gausman and Bundy are a good start to the rotation, with the back end of their rotation being their weak spot, but overall, they have a very good club. Tampa always seems to come up with good pitching, and maybe their hitting is bit better than anticipated. Dickerson looks like a different guy from last year. They still have a couple of guys on the DL as well. Hard to draw any conclusions from 1 week, of course.

All the intra-division games vs tough opponents make it harder to get a wild card spot in the AL East. I'd like to see them dial it back to 12 or 14 games vs teams in your own division, instead of 18, but mlb likes to emphasize the rivalries. Playing 72 games out of 162 vs only 4 teams seems excessive (44.4%) to me. Even at 12 games each, you'd be playing 30% of your games within your division.
BlueJayWay - Sunday, April 09 2017 @ 06:54 PM EDT (#340473) #
Same. I don't like seeing the same four teams over and over.
PeterG - Sunday, April 09 2017 @ 07:08 PM EDT (#340474) #
Also agree with the need for more balanced schedule. I would like to see inter-league dropped as well but know it won't happen whereas a more balanced AL schedule is at least a possibility.
rpriske - Monday, April 10 2017 @ 08:56 AM EDT (#340478) #
The game yesterday was ugly. They planned bad baseball.

I am as big a Tulowitzki fan as anybody, but he sure looked bad yesterday. He started with instigation on 2nd when Souza had done nothing wrong. He then blew a double play. He then inexplicably ran Smith back to 2nd instead of getting an easy out.

He needs to play better than that. They all do.

uglyone - Monday, April 10 2017 @ 09:42 AM EDT (#340479) #

better get this sorted out by the time nhl/nba playoffs end.
Chuck - Monday, April 10 2017 @ 11:00 AM EDT (#340481) #
They planned bad baseball.

If they plan bad baseball, I'd hope they'd have the courtesy to let me know in advance so that I don't have to watch.

China fan - Monday, April 10 2017 @ 11:41 AM EDT (#340482) #
"....He started with instigation on 2nd when Souza had done nothing wrong...."

My understanding of that play, from watching the replays and listening to the broadcast-crew's analysis, was this:  1) Souza made an overly aggressive slide, and he hit Tulo's foot with his own foot, wide of the bag, which was clearly visible in the replays;  2) Souza started the verbal dispute because he didn't realize that it wasn't a force play at second.  He didn't realize that Smoak had already touched first base to force out the hitter, which turned the second-base play into a "tag" situation, rather than a force out, and forced Tulo to move closer to Souza to tag him.

If I'm wrong about these facts or the rule interpretations, please correct me.
rpriske - Monday, April 10 2017 @ 02:06 PM EDT (#340487) #
1) Souza made an overly aggressive slide, and he hit Tulo's foot with his own foot, wide of the bag, which was clearly visible in the replays;

If this was 'overly-aggressive' , then what wouldn't be? It was a perfectly legal slide even under the strictest version of the rules.

 2) Souza started the verbal dispute because he didn't realize that it wasn't a force play at second.

Tulo started the verbal dispute, not Souza. He was mad that Souza tried to break up a double play that didn't exist, even though it should have been clear to everyone involved that there was no way for Souza to know that he was the second out on the play, not the first.

I am not saying Tulo should be pilloried, just that he was in the wrong. (Then, by extension, Cash was in the wrong by butting in when Souza was trying to make it clear that there was no issue between him and the Jays. And then the ump over-reacted to Cash. There was a lot of 'wrong' in here, but Tulo started it off.)
85bluejay - Monday, April 10 2017 @ 03:27 PM EDT (#340488) #
Death, Taxes and a John Gibbons managed team with a sub .500 record in April.
PeterG - Monday, April 10 2017 @ 04:24 PM EDT (#340490) #
Jays claim Ty Kelly

Sparkman to 60 day DL.
John Northey - Monday, April 10 2017 @ 04:37 PM EDT (#340491) #
Ty Kelly - just another AAA guy for 3B/2B/LF so depth and nothing more.

So is it time to panic? Luckily with the Leafs and Raptors in the playoffs no one was going to pay much attention to the Jays for a few weeks anyways. Lets hope they sort themselves out before both are knocked out.

For the sad worst case (Jays suck and keep sucking) when do you start looking at Tellez and others? Which vets would you trade? Estrada, Liriano, Grilli, Howell, Barney, and Saltalamacchia will all be free agents after this season. Grilli and Estrada would both be in high demand. Liriano could be if he picks it up after that horrid first start. Sadly I don't see a ton of kid pitchers ready to step in and fill those slots. Ah well, lets not think about that option until July and only if we must then (IE: Jays sub 500 without any shot at either wild card)
PeterG - Monday, April 10 2017 @ 04:50 PM EDT (#340493) #
way to early to speculate on possible trades but if Jays do suck by July all the pending FA's as well as JD could go. I don't think there will be any rush to bring up kids prematurely though. The season would be played out with mostly stop gaps.

This is the worst case scenario which I don't expect. It is certainly within the realm of possibility however.
Richard S.S. - Monday, April 10 2017 @ 06:05 PM EDT (#340494) #
Once again the Jays are too easy to pitch to, 3 RHB, SW, more RHB. Pitchers really don't have to change much. Too much impatience to wait for a good pitch makes easy outs. Until that changes, expect more loses.
scottt - Monday, April 10 2017 @ 07:08 PM EDT (#340495) #
Ty Kelly is another guy that would more useful than Goins.

Switch hitter who can get on base and hit for average while spelling 3B, 2B and LF.

greenfrog - Monday, April 10 2017 @ 07:39 PM EDT (#340496) #
If it's any consolation, Dexter Fowler wouldn't have helped stave off the Jays' slow start; he's hitting .174/.296/.174 to start the season.
SK in NJ - Monday, April 10 2017 @ 10:43 PM EDT (#340499) #
If the season goes south by the deadline, then I think we'll see a minor clean-up/retool where the Jays move impending free agents (Estrada, Liriano, Bautista if he's willing, Grilli, Smith, etc) since the qualifying offer system has changed. I don't see them rebuilding or trading Donaldson. Probably just a quick retool to see if they can push forward in 2018.

Too early to start speculating on that, though. Then again, the last time the Jays started a season 1-5 was the Season From Hell (2004), so I guess we can't rule it out. The Jays have the talent but they are collectively old, especially on the position player side, and you can't always predict when that will cause a team to decline.
uglyone - Monday, April 10 2017 @ 10:48 PM EDT (#340500) #
ah, sweet blowitup talk, the surest sign of spring.
jerjapan - Monday, April 10 2017 @ 11:22 PM EDT (#340501) #
Ha, Uglyone, too true.

six games in.  come on.

also, Ty Kelly?  Scottt, go ahead man, provide some insight into Ty Kelly vs. Goins other than what seems like a cursory glance at his stat line.   

scottt - Tuesday, April 11 2017 @ 06:10 AM EDT (#340504) #
But Jay Bruce is off to a hot start.
scottt - Tuesday, April 11 2017 @ 06:11 AM EDT (#340505) #
You think Goins, you can't find at-bats, will suddenly break out?
rpriske - Tuesday, April 11 2017 @ 09:13 AM EDT (#340507) #
Is Kelly better than Goins?


And that is without knowing anything about him.

Goins is sub-replacement level.

Mike Green - Tuesday, April 11 2017 @ 10:11 AM EDT (#340508) #
John Lott has a wonderfully written article in the Athletic today on the Blue Jays, Brewers and relationships in the game.

I am not going to wade into the Goins debate, but I would say that it is likely that Leblebijian is ahead of Ty Kelly in the depth chart as of now. 

Mike Green - Tuesday, April 11 2017 @ 10:52 AM EDT (#340509) #
One more thing.  David Laurilia has an item in fangraphs on Mallex Smith.  Walking him in three times in a game should be a pitching offence. 

He does have a better name than Otis Nixon though...
jerjapan - Tuesday, April 11 2017 @ 10:59 AM EDT (#340510) #
I definitely don't think Goins is due for a breakout, and I'm fine with him sitting on the bench as the 25th man. But the org picked him over Upton for a bunch of reasons (Atkins recently cited years of control, handedness, D and versatility).

Ty Kelly is this year's Matt Dominguez / Matt Hague - 3B depth, although I agree with Mike that Leblebijian is likely ahead of him on the depth chart.

I don't think stats are the only rational reason for picking a guy at the end of the bench.
uglyone - Tuesday, April 11 2017 @ 11:42 AM EDT (#340515) #
i still think goins is just a short term thing and that coghlan will be up in his place soon enough.
John Northey - Tuesday, April 11 2017 @ 12:05 PM EDT (#340516) #
Oh yeah, way too early but I just couldn't resist. Atlanta is also 1-5 and Seattle 1-6 but no one really thought either was a contender. The 1998 Yankees who won 114 games started 1-4 then had an 8 game winning streak so even great teams can start slow (iirc there was even talk of firing Joe Torre as it was the Yankees and they still had a rep of firing fast and furious then). The 1985 Yankees started 6-10 and fired Yogi Berra as their manager then nearly made the playoffs finally being eliminated by the Jays on the 2nd to last day of the season.

Plus as a Jays example, which of us who was around could forget the 1989 team? 12-24 to start, fired Jimy Williams at long last and put Cito Gaston in even though Gillick desperately wanted Lou Pinella (Yankees wouldn't give him up).

So yeah, far too early to worry. I'm more just excited about top prospects at the moment (Tellez, Pompey, D Smith, Alford, Urena, etc.). Once the Jays get going I'm sure I'll get more focused on how Carrera, Pearce, Smoak and others like them are doing and if they deserve the playing time they are getting.

Btw, hitters right now: Sub 0 OPS+: Martin, Travis, Goins (0 for 1). Horrible is Pearce (2), Saltalamacchia (16), Tulo (27), Bautista (39). Bad Pillar (67) and Carrera (68). OK Smoak (102), Morales (103). Great Donaldson (212) and Barney (222).

There is the issue in a nutshell. Only 2 hitters outperforming, 2 more at 'meh' and the rest using the wrong end of the bat.
Chuck - Tuesday, April 11 2017 @ 12:54 PM EDT (#340518) #
He does have a better name than Otis Nixon though...

And is easier to find.

Chuck - Tuesday, April 11 2017 @ 12:56 PM EDT (#340520) #
But the org picked him over Upton for a bunch of reasons (Atkins recently cited years of control, handedness, D and versatility).

And injury history of the starting 2B and SS. Who would be surprised to see a Barney-Goins keystone combo for a 2-week stretch some time this season?

mathesond - Tuesday, April 11 2017 @ 01:12 PM EDT (#340521) #
If you don't got Otis Nixon then your store could use some fixin'
jerjapan - Tuesday, April 11 2017 @ 04:31 PM EDT (#340531) #
matthesond, that's the comment of the thread!
Blue Jays @ Rays - April 6-9 | 112 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.